by Joe Morris
After coming off of a career year for the Queens College Knights in 2016, making 1st team All-Conference, batting .350 with an on-base-percentage of .442 while swiping 31 bags, adversity struck for senior shortstop and captain Kevin Kolesar.
In 2016, Kolesar felt some pain in his left shoulder, but was willing-and-able to play throughout the season and go on to be one of the best players in the conference. Unfortunately, the dynamic shortstop felt some discomfort in his left shoulder again on a swing during an intra-squad scrimmage early in the 2017 season, and this time he knew it was trouble.
“It happened during practice, the extension and the finish of my swing was where I felt the pop and I was in extreme pain.”
As he attempted to play through the injury again, Kolesar felt a pulling sensation in his shoulder and decided it was time to get an MRI to determine the severity of his injury. Awaiting the results, Kolesar admitted he was pretty nervous.
“Leading up to the phone call, I got to say, it was kind of scary.”
Unfortunately, that phone call proved to be the kiss of death. Kolesar would find out that he suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder, stirring up some emotions for him and his family.
“It was hard. My mom called me with the news and was crying on the phone, but I didn’t really have a reaction, I just contacted my coach and the training staff to let them know what was going on.”
As time went on and Kolesar watched games from the bench, the significance of his injury started to settle in.
“I didn’t really take it well. It hurt knowing I was going to be out for the rest of the season and couldn’t help my team that at the time didn’t even start conference games yet.”
Kolesar’s surgery took place on April 24, and he was told that his injury would sideline him for five to six months. The Knight’s catalyst is shooting to get back on the field in late September, right in the middle of the fall season.
Although it seems to be a long and hard road to recovery, Kolesar had some strong support from friends and family, and one person in particular has been there for him from the start.
“One of the people I’ve been able to talk to was my brother, so after we got the news we had a discussion on what to do going forward, so he’s been really helpful.”
That’s exactly the mindset for Kolesar now, looking forward to what’s ahead, and it’s evident he’s itching to get back to playing the game he loves.
“The thing I’m looking forward to most is playing baseball again, and just being on a baseball field. Seeing people play and not being able to go out there and help was not fun.”
After missing a playoff spot by one game in 2017, it’s now been 19 years since the Knights made their last playoff appearance. There’s no telling if Kolesar’s presence could have propelled the team to their first playoff appearance since 1998, but the electrifying shortstop is optimistic that his rehab is progressing well, and that when he gets back his team can finally make their way to the playoffs.
“The shoulder is getting better day by day, so hopefully when I get back we can make a run at this thing.”
With Kolesar redshirting this year, there is hope upon his return that the 2018 could be the year for the Knights. Kolesar’s motivation to make his senior year a memorable one will be the driving force behind a successful comeback from this devastating injury.